Near Perfection - 1964 Ford Galaxie 500
Article and photography by Richard Butschi
The name “Galaxie” first appeared on upper level 1959 Fairlanes - chosen to induce excitement from NASA's “space race”. In '62, all full-sized Fords received the Galaxie name with “500” and “500 XL” denoting the top versions. In '63 it received a rear-sloping roofline dubbed a “fastback”, which was a big seller. The Galaxie 500/LTD was introduced in '65. In '66, the Galaxie name was given to a “mid-level” version of the LTD until its demise in 1974. The '64 model Galaxie was more “sculpted” with aerodynamics suited for NASCAR racing. The old “boxtop” roof was no longer available. The '64 2-door hardtop XL was the largest selling XL produced in any year with just under 600,000 units.
Eric Magayne, of Marion, developed his love of the “blue oval” through his father, Jerry, of Eagle River, Wisconsin. Jerry still has a Wedgewood Blue and white '59 retractable hardtop that they took to many area car shows. It's currently in the middle of a second restoration. Today, the elder Magayne keeps busy fixing car clocks and restoring Thunderbirds. He garages a Flamingo Pink '59, a Sandshell Beige '62 and a Wimbledon White '65. He recently sold a '60 done in Mink Silver.
Eric is a systems engineer at Collins – graduated from the U of Wisconsin in '09, has an eye for details and is very thorough. For example, after graduation, Eric, an avid camper, set out to visit all 61 national parks, finishing in 2015 in Hawaii. That tenacious mind set took over all aspects of the car from start to finish. He purchased the '64 in 2010, rounded up shop manuals, parts catalogs and kept his dad on speed dial, as he admits at the time to “not knowing the difference between a fuel pump and a water pump”. He spent 2011 collecting parts, had the engine built in '12 by Horn Automotive, then saved a lot of money before starting the restoration. On Labor Day of 2013, a headlight bezel was the first part removed and the last part reattached on Memorial Day, 2014. During all this, Eric was researching the car's colorful history and established a registry of similar Samoan Coral Galaxies – 31 in existence, to be precise. This is a difficult job for Ford aficionados as a fire destroyed many production records in August of 1970. Magayne is the 12th owner of the Galaxie that was originally sold at Ryder Ford in Weiser, Idaho.
Approximately 2000 photos were taken during the restoration – about 1 for every hour of labor. Magayne replaced most every nut and bolt with original equipment parts, including the Power Punch battery and Goodyear Super Cushion bias ply tires! Even the 390/300 hp engine, with Top Loader 4-speed, was built using only time-correct coded parts. The Galaxie has power steering, but no power brakes. It has optional fender skirts and a very rare AM/FM radio, as there weren't many FM stations. The 500 came with a bench seat, (more to Eric's liking). An XL would have had buckets. It's now as close as one can get to having it “as it was born” on May 14, 1964.
Eric's first show after completion was in Fennimore, WI, where he won 1st in the “stock” class , the distance award, the Ford Spectators Choice and Best of Show. He later became a member of the Antique Auto Club of America, and recently drove (yes, drove) his '64 to its annual Grand National show, held this year in Auburn, IN, where he won major awards. But Magayne isn't resting. He purchased another '64 Galaxie with an original 427 engine, once owned by Murland Moran, of Marion, who bought it in California after service in the Army. Eric is currently waiting for the newly painted body, in Raven Black with red interior, being done at Robinson Restoration in Ryan, IA, so assembly can begin. Shop owner Chris Robinson is also responsible for the beautiful Samoan Coral paint on Eric's 500 and all his father's cars. Magayne also helped to land the Ford Galaxie National Meet in CR on August 23-24 with a Saturday show on the 2nd Avenue Bridge, from 9:00 to 3:00.